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GoFundMe has reportedly removed several fundraisers organized to raise money for the high bail set on an elderly Arizona rancher who allegedly shot and killed an illegal immigrant crossing his land.
George Alan Kelly, 73, has been charged with first-degree murder after allegedly shooting an illegal immigrant believed to be 48-year-old Gabriel Cuen-Butimea, Fox News reported. The migrant had been deported multiple times before he was killed, The Daily Mail reported, most recently in 2016.
Kelly has pleaded with a judge to reduce his $1 million bail or to release him so that he could help his wife tend to their livestock, but he remains behind bars. His court-appointed attorney, Brenna Larkin, hasn’t tried to get him released or reduce his bail, the Mail reported, nor has she invoked Arizona’s stand your ground or trespassing laws. She has asked for more time to prepare, stating the scale of the case was overwhelming, according to the outlet.
Kelly has also not explained what led him to shoot Cuen-Butimea just 100 feet from the rancher’s home, or if he had encountered the man previously.
Several GoFundMe pages were set up to help raise money for Kelly’s bail, the Mail reported, but they have been shut down by the website, which has a history of deleting fundraisers for certain political causes. GoFundMe has cited a policy against fundraising to help defendants charged with “violent crimes,” and removed fundraisers for Kyle Rittenhouse, who was ultimately acquitted of killing two Black Lives Matter rioters in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The website also stepped into controversy when it removed fundraisers for the Freedom Convoy and claimed it had information that the protest against vaccine mandates was no longer peaceful.
In a statement to The Daily Wire, GoFundMe said that its “Terms of Service explicitly prohibit campaigns that raise money to cover the legal defense of anyone formally charged with an alleged violent crime.”
“Consistent with this long-standing policy, any fundraising campaigns for the legal defense of someone charged with murder are removed from our platform,” the company added. “Donors who contributed to the fundraising campaigns for George Alan Kelly’s legal expenses have been fully refunded.”
GoFundMe has not removed fundraisers for Black Lives Matter protesters or others protesting for Left-wing causes, including a fundraiser for Manuel Páez Terán, who is accused of shooting a police officer during an environmental protest. Terán was shot dead by police during the encounter.
Kelly’s arrest comes as illegal border crossings continue to increase, with an estimated 5.5 million migrants crossing during the Biden administration so far, according to data from the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
Critics, such as New York Post columnist Miranda Devine, have pointed to the Biden administration’s absent attempts to secure the border.
“Government abandons the border, leaving elderly rancher and sick wife stuck in a lawless badlands run by cartels,” she tweeted, referring to Kelly. “So he uses his legal gun to protect himself from trespassers of unknown intent and now is in jail on $1m bail while his wife is home alone.”
Government abandons the border, leaving elderly rancher and sick wife stuck in a lawless badlands run by cartels. So he uses his legal gun to protect himself from trespassers of unknown intent and now is in jail on $1m bail while his wife is home alone. https://t.co/QwpaZX7Mg9
— Miranda Devine (@mirandadevine) February 9, 2023
This article has been updated.